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Five billion gallons of sewage have now been prevented from entering waterways by the tunnel system as newly planted trees will store stormwater and sequester carbon.

INDIANAPOLIS – Citizens Energy Group employee volunteers today planted the 10,000th tree in the “10 Thousand Trees” initiative, achieving the multi-year goal set by a coalition of partners including Citizens Energy Group, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. and the City of Indianapolis. Noting the appropriate timing of the planting on Arbor Day, community leaders celebrated the impact of the initiative in parks and neighborhoods across the city where trees will serve to hold stormwater and sequester carbon as an important complement to the DigIndy Tunnel System.

“Purposeful positioning of tree plantings above ground plays such a key role in what we are working to achieve deep underground with the DigIndy infrastructure: keeping wastewater from overflowing into our local waterways,” said Citizens Energy Group President & CEO Jeffrey Harrison. “Trees provide so many important benefits in our communities, including absorbing stormwater before it even enters our sewer systems.”

The active portions of the DigIndy Tunnel System already have prevented more than 5 billion gallons of sewage from entering local waterways. In comparison, this is 1.5 billion gallons greater than the total capacity of Citizens Reservoir in northeast Indianapolis. When completed in 2025, the DigIndy Tunnel System will divert at least 95 percent of all wastewater overflows from Indianapolis’ combined sewer systems away from nearby creeks and into Citizens facilities for treatment before safe release into the White River.

Employee volunteers from Citizens Energy Group gathered to plant approximately 60 trees at Windsor Village Park on the city’s far east side, including the ceremonial 10,000th tree. Other planting locations in years past have included Haughville Park, Frederick Douglass Park, and along roadways in neighborhoods across Indianapolis, as coordinated by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc.

Pictures from today's event are at the bottom of this release.

“Today we pass a critical milestone in this partnership between Citizens Energy Group and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful,” said Jeremy Kranowitz, President and CEO of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. This powerful relationship is rare in the U.S., and we are fortunate in Indianapolis to share a vision for a city that is both greener and healthier. The 10,000 trees we have planted together, with volunteers across the city, are making dozens of neighborhoods cooler in the summer and less likely to flood during major rain events.”

Started in 2017 as a partnership between Citizens, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB), and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, tree plantings have been targeted within the city’s combined sewer area—generally older parts of the city where historic development linked stormwater and wastewater sewers, leading to sewer overflows into rivers during rain events. As described in Citizens’ recent 2023 Sustainability Report, the 10 Thousand Trees initiative was developed to provide up to an estimated one million gallons of natural stormwater storage during such rain events. As of year-end 2023, the tree-planting effort was also estimated to have sequestered more than 180 tons of carbon since the program began, with an increasing rate of carbon sequestration as trees mature.

“It’s impossible to fully grasp the tangible and intangible benefits that trees bring to our neighborhoods,” said Councilor Keith Graves, representing City-County Council District 9. “Windsor Village Park is a hub for community activity on the east side, and our neighbors will be breathing, feeling, and seeing the improved quality of life in this corner of the city of generations to come.”

About the DigIndy Tunnel System:
The DigIndy Tunnel System is a 28-mile network of 18-foot diameter deep rock tunnels being built 250 feet beneath the city. Along with other projects in the combined sewer system and at two advanced wastewater treatment plants, the $2 billion program is Indy’s solution to reducing combined sewer overflows into area waterways, keeping the utility and the City of Indianapolis in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Now more than a decade in the making, completed portions of the DigIndy Tunnel System have prevented 5 billion gallons of sewage from entering our local waterways. Construction will conclude and the entire system will be operational in 2025. 
Learn more about DigIndy online, and check out the 360 VR Tunnel Tour on YouTube.

Group before planting_wide

Jeff at podium

Volunteers in neighborhood

Full group photo


About Citizens Energy Group
Citizens Energy Group provides safe and reliable utility services to about 900,000 people in the Indianapolis area. Citizens operates its utilities for the benefit of customers and the community.

Media Contact Information
Ben Easley
Phone: 317-519-1515